Jack took a shaky breath, as if trying to steady himself. “It’s Mum.” Another deep breath. “She’s been in a car accident.”
“Oh, my God, is she okay? Where is she?” she asked, overwhelmed by all the emotions she was feeling.
“She’s in hospital, in the ICU. It’s... pretty bad. They’re checking for internal bleeding at the moment, before they deal with her broken bones. They also want to check her brain and internal organs for ruptures and damage.”
“Oh, God. I’ll be there as soon as I can,” Beth said, about to hang up.
She paused. “Yeah?”
“Happy birthday for yesterday by the way.”
Then he hung up. Beth tried to look at the screen but all the words and numbers were too busy swimming around to show her what they said. That was when she began to cry. Her knees gave way but Robert was immediately there to catch her. He sat on the floor, his legs crossed, as he cradled her in his lap, rocking back and forth slightly.
“Shush,” he whispered, “try not to worry, we’ll go and see her now.”
As words failed her, she simply nodded her head and tried to get a hold on her breathing.
“Come on, let’s get dressed, tigrotto,” he murmured to her, brushing her hair behind her ear.
He stood up, still holding onto her. He opened the wardrobe, shuffling her into one arm, before pulling some stuff out. She took whatever it was off him and held onto them as he sat her on the edge of the bed.
Robert took the things back and Beth realised they were clothes. He slowly dressed her, trying to share with her his calm, though she knew it was simply a facade; the worry and concern permeating his emotional barrier. She was too distraught to care much that he was dressing her; her body limp though her mind bordered on hysterical.
When he pulled her t-shirt over her head, she dropped back onto the bed, closing her eyes in an attempt to fight back another wave of tears. They fell anyway, sliding down her cheeks and seeping into the duvet.
A minute later, Robert came back to her, fully dressed. He pulled her into a sitting position and picked her up, wrapping her legs around his waist and her arms around his neck. She only just had to strength to cling to him like a tired child.
Beth didn’t really remember being carried down the stairs, or being set in the car. She mentally woke when they were just about to pull into the hospital car park. She hardly noticed the stares that were drawn to the car. Robert was picking her up a moment later.
She dropped her head onto his chest as she tightened her legs around his waist.
“I love you,” she said quietly as she hung onto him
“I love you too. Now, shush, tesorina,” he whispered back.
Beth didn’t listen as Robert said her mother’s name to the receptionist, who gave them instructions as to how get up to the ICU.